117 – 11:59

Grade: D-

11:59 (1999) on IMDb


Neelix starts spouting off useless trivia about the Great Wall of China, as he is suddenly interested in the history of Earth. This sparks an interest in Captain Janeway to learn more about her ancestor from 300 years ago, from whom she claims to have inherited a desire to become a Starship Captain.


No, no, no. This episode does not work for me at all. It’s not a total loss, but it’s very, very close to one. In fact, this is about as close to an F as possible. If it hadn’t been for some truly mediocre acting, this would have been an F. Star Trek should never be the Hallmark Movie of the Week.

It’s not very often that Star Trek fails so miserably like this. Enterprise had the episode “Carbon Creek”, which I actually enjoyed, believe it or not. It was probably because the story actually helped establish the connection between the Vulcans and Humans.

But Enterprise also had “Carpenter Street”, several episodes later. That particular story added nothing to the series whatsoever, and it was dreadfully boring. “11:59” was every bit as boring and useless as Carpenter Street. There are lots of plot holes here and almost nothing to keep my interest. Don’t get me wrong – I like character stories as much as anyone does, but I prefer learning about the series characters and not about their distant ancestors. Besides, this story adds absolutely nothing to the Voyager storyline. We are no closer to getting home; we have not met any new aliens; we have faced no new challenges. All we have done is wasted 45 minutes of the audience’s time finding out that the stories Janeway used to hear when she was a child could actually be all wrong.

But then, we already had “Living Witness”, which was an episode that showed us how what we believe about history could be completely wrong. In this episode, there’s no conclusion except that Janeway could have been wrong all along. She finally admits that she wouldn’t have stranded all of these people in the Delta Quadrant if she had never become a Starfleet Captain. Yeah, so what? Are they saying they never should have written this series to be so limiting? Are we detecting some remorse about stranding them so far away from home and having to create new villains virtually every single week? Whatever.

There is something that takes place in this episode that will just not stop bothering me. I don’t know how many more times Voyager is going to access the Starfleet database, but it’s really annoying. Is there literally no limit to the amount of information stored in Voyager’s computers? But what’s even worse, they actually access a Ferengi database!! Do all Starfleet ships carry the entire databases of all the races that we have met? In the other series, I don’t have a problem with connecting to the database, because they could use subspace relays to gather data. But this far out in the Delta Quadrant, how are they supposed to collect this information instantaneously? This is beyond ridiculous and it’s very annoying. I wish the writers of this series didn’t expect the viewers to be so stupid as to accept all illogic such as this.

Oh, as if that’s not annoying enough, but they find out from TOM PARIS that Janeway’s ancestor was never involved in the colonization of Mars. Why? Because he has studied every single expedition involving Mars since 1970. OK, so we’re supposed to believe he memorized every single name of every single Mars explorer and colonizer just because? I mean I guess it could make some sense if there were only about a half dozen of these expeditions, but seriously? If it were Data, that would be one thing. But Tom Paris? Yikes. This show really thinks we’re stupid.

One other item makes no sense to me. They’re talking about creating the “Milennium Gate”, which is supposedly a prototype of a bio dome that will be used to help colonize Mars. OK, fine. So why build this in the middle of a tiny little town? Why not out in the country someplace where nobody would have to be displaced or forced to sell their property? And here’s another thing – what need would they have of creating a bio dome in the middle of Indiana? Why not in the middle of Antarctica where the conditions are always too harsh for human survival?

Lastly, one bit of foolishness that stands out is how this stupid thing ends. Mr. Janeway owns the bookstore. He doesn’t want to sell because he doesn’t want his town to lose out its charm. Nobody is shopping in his store. They go several days without a customer or even a phone call – except for a wrong number. And yet he finally gives in to the plan when Miss O’Donnell convinces him to do it because she will stay with him if he does. And yet only a few minutes before that, she was well on her way out of town because she knew he wouldn’t budge. The only thing that changed her mind was because the chocolate chip cookies that she ate didn’t taste as good as they normally do. Wow. Just Wow.

Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

Of Note

It is established in this episode that these events take place in 2000. The Miss O’Donnell character says she was 11 when NASA sent astronauts to the Moon. That means she must have been born at least in 1958, and it also means she must be at least 42 years old during these events. That would mean that any offspring from this relationship would have to have been born when Miss O’Donnell is at least 43. It’s unlikely – though not impossible – that she would be Kathryn Janeway’s ancestor, but she certainly could be her step-ancestor. Still, it doesn’t make much sense that Captain Janeway would credit inheriting an interest in space from a step-ancestor. Eh, whatever. That’s more than I really should be thinking about this episode at all.

Apparently, Brannon Braga was quite proud of this story, even though he admits there was not a single bit of science fiction in it. I wish he had submitted it to the Lifetime Movie Channel instead.